Monday, June 1, 2015

It Ain't All Sunshine and Flowers, You Know!

It's raining again for the second day in a row. Actually, it started Saturday night when a storm blew in that knocked our power out for over 2 hours before it came back on. Sunday morning I threw on a jacket (the temperature had plunged down to around 53) and rescued the pots of seeds that I had just started on Friday when it had been sunny and 80! I hoped the drenching they got, along with some seedlings I had also planted that day, would not kill them outright, but as my hero, Henry David Thoreau, always says, 'I have faith in a seed."

Talking with an acquaintance about this the other day, she asked me,"Why do you even bother? All that work, all that money invested, and all the strain you're putting on that poor hip of yours (referring to my injury from last summer that still plagues me). All of that can be blown away in a single storm. I don't see what you get out of it." Well, I'll tell you what I get out of it and, of course, my answer will also be a metaphor for our lives (did you really expect that this would just be a post about gardening?).

What I get out of it is the chance to feel as one with the earth and everything on it. I get to be a witness to the miracle of life in all its forms. I get to watch a seed become a seedling, then a plant, then a flower or vegetable or herb, then end up on my plate. I get to follow the cycles of the seasons through my garden, watching the animals harvest and store for the winter, or fly by the hundreds over my heard to warmer winter homes. Do I sometimes get discouraged? You bet. It ain't all sunshine and flowers, you know. Sometimes it's disappointment, or flat out failure. I've lost count of how many times I've lost veggie plants to the weather, or flowers to the nibbles of my animal neighbors. I've even had almost a whole garden destroyed by hail.

Life is very much like gardening. We plant the seeds for our dreams and work like heck to see them germinate and blossom. Sometimes our storms are small and we can weather them. Other times they are catastrophic and we watch in horror as our dreams are destroyed. In that moment we come to understand that how we determine our next move will determine how we will live the rest of our lives. It is so easy to just throw our hands up in the air and walk away. Some would say that would be the sane thing to do, but since when are the dreams of our hearts always sane to other people who cannot feel the longing and the calling from our spirits? Last year, I lost my job, lost my health insurance, fractured my hip and shoulder, and was ready to just give in to it all and go live with one of my kids like a good old decrepit grandmother. Thankfully, that dark cloud only lasted about two weeks. By the time I was up and about on my own two feet - plus a cane - I was already asking myself how I could take those lemons and not only make them lemonade, but make the best lemonade I had ever tasted.

So here I am, watching the rain come down on the garden that I waited 15 years to get back. Actually, we needed the rain. We haven't had a steady rain for a long time and the earth needed it. Sometimes a little rain is a good thing. It washes things clean and gives us an opportunity to start over like new. I'm checking my box of seed packets just in case I have to replant anything, but I suspect that the new plantings will be okay. In most cases, the seeds, just like people, are hardier than we think. We just have to have faith in that seed.

And so it is.